HORSHAM and District Relay For Life teams are ready to hit the track to support the region’s cancer patients and their loved ones.
The annual event raises money and awareness for Cancer Council Victoria, recognises survivors and carers, and celebrates the memories of those who have died.
Thirty-three teams are registered for the 16th installment of the event, which starts on Friday and runs until Saturday.
Relay chairmanager Kingsley Dalgleish said fundraising was on track, with more than 530 participants already raising close to $64,000.
Mr Dalgleish said many teams from last year’s relay were returning for another year, and several new teams had signed up.
Among the new relay teams is Involved. It was formed to encourage anyone who does not have a team to join in the fundraiser. The Relay For Life committee also rallied at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days to register two more teams ahead of the event.
That’s why we relay – so no one has to hear the words ‘you have cancer.Kingsley Dalgleish
“We are looking forward to the night and expect a good turnout. There are a half a dozen new teams, which is fantastic to see,” Mr Dalgleish said. He said fundraising efforts were well-supported, particularly the Paint the Town Purple event during October last year.
This year there is also a $1000 prize on offer for the team that walks the most laps at the event. The money – donated by Community Axis – will go towards the winning team's fundraising total.
This year’s relay at Horsham’s Coughlin Park starts with an opening ceremony at 5.45pm on Friday.
Mr Dalgleish said hourly themes throughout the event would keep people entertained. Themes include rascals of relay, pajama party, footy colours and more.
The event includes free live entertainment including Horsham band All the Kings Men, Voices of the Wimmera, and Horsham couple Norm and Marlene McLean.
Mr Dalgleish said music was always a highlight and expected this year to be no different.
A survivors and carers function starts at 6.30pm on Friday in the Coughlin Park community centre. Mr Dalgleish encouraged all survivors and carers to attend to hear from guest speakers Carmel O’Kane and ‘Mr Relay’ Michael Grayling.
A candlelight ceremony will follow at 9pm before the event’s closing ceremony at noon on Saturday.
Mr Dalgleish said the candlelight ceremony was always a special time. He said cancer reached far and wide, and everyone had been affected by it in some way.
“Unfortunately so many people in our community are touched by cancer – whether it’s them personally or their friends, family, school mates or colleagues,” he said.
“Through events like Relay For Life we’re getting closer to breakthroughs. That’s why we relay – so no one has to hear the words ‘you have cancer’.”